A non governmental organization, Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Nigeria on Friday flagged off the distribution of over 70,000 condoms to people of Kogi State as part of activities marking this year’s International Condoms Day.
The organization has also offered free HIV counseling and testing services for about 4,000 people to enable them know their status.
Kogi State Coordinator of AHF Nigeria, Dr Balogun Stephen, who disclosed this during the flag off of the event at the Campus of the Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja, said the programme was aimed at encouraging the uptake of condoms as a means of preventing both HIV and other sexually transmitted infections as well as prevent unplanned pregnancy.
Stephen Balogun, Kogi State Coordinator of AHF Nigeria. We are celebrating the international condoms day. This is the 10th edition.
He said the International Condoms Day was meant to to create HIV awareness amongst the people especially the youth population and the need for them to promote safer sex through the use of contraceptives.
Encourage the uptake of condoms as a means of preventing both HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and to also prevent unplanned pregnancy.
“We are doing this in the months of February because it is the month of love. It is the Valentine month and we celebrate it to coincide with the period so that while people go about celebrating love, they don’t end up contracting diseases as a result of celebrating love.
“We have over 70,000 condoms to be distributed during this period. We are providing free HIV testing . The target was to reach out to 3,150 but the good news is that we have gone beyond that. As at yesterday, we have tested 3,200 and we hope that before the end of today we might be achieving close to 4,000”, he said.
Dr Balogun while appealing to the state government on the need to domesticate the Anti-stigmatization Law in the state, urged the people to avoid stigmatizing and discriminating against people living with HIV AIDS in the state. the usage of condoms as well.
Wife of the Kogi State Governor, Hajiya Rashida Bello on the occasion, encouraged people to use contraceptives as means of preventing unwanted pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
The governor’s wife who was represented on the occasion by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Bolanle Amupitan, raised concerns over rising cases of teenage pregnancies and abandonment new babies in odd places in the state.
She therefore commended AHF Nigeria for collaborating with the Kogi State Government through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Office of Wife of the Governor to create awareness on safer sex and prevention of sexually transmitted infections.
She urged the mammoth gathering of youths at the event to always “keep safe and stay safe”, adding that “carelessness of this moment could cause pain of a life time”.
The event featured dancing competitions amongst the youths and presentations of gifts.